Lee DeVito

Staff writer, Detroit Metro Times

Location icon United States of America



Arts and Culture

Heidelberg Project firebugs can't keep Tyree Guyton down

Tyree Guyton asks us to step into his office, and for an internationally recognized artist, his accommodations are incredibly modest. D├ęcor is extremely minimal. We sit on plastic chairs that look like they were donated from an elementary school.

Quindell Mitchell's path to artistic salvation

On a Sunday earlier this summer, we enlisted the help of graffiti writer and artist Jesse Stark to paint the cover image for the photo shoot for our "American Graffiti" issue near Lincoln Street Art Park. It was an all-day effort that took a small crew, and we were off to a rough start thanks to some early afternoon rain.

Hipster Art House Lays Stakes in Eastern Market

When Royal Oak's 323East Gallery closed its doors last year, fans were left wondering where to get their lowbrow art fix next. The tiny art space had become the new home for kitschy and cool ever since Detroit's CPOP closed its doors in 2009.

Q & A

John King of John K. King Used & Rare Books

click to enlarge Bookworms are most likely already aware of John K. King Used & Rare Books - for years, the hulking downtown warehouse has been a treasure trove, boasting a collection of "one million books, give or take a dozen" in more than 900 subjects.


How Do You Tell When a Gang Is a Gang?

What's in a gang? A definition has proven slippery for experts to pin down. In the 1927 book The Gang: A Study of 1,313 Gangs in Chicago, one of the first academic studies on the phenomenon, sociologist Frederic Thrasher attempted a definition that included a "spontaneous and unplanned origin," "intimate, face-to-face relations" and "a heritage of memories which belongs more or less to all members and distinguishes the gang from more ephemeral types of group such as the crowd and the mob."


Davin Brainard releases colorful board book

click to enlarge "It's the greatest book ever written," local artist Davin Brainard says when asked about his new release, Mountain Ocean Sun. "Actually, it's a fast food joint in Japan. It really is. That's where the name comes from."

Recap of Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown Detroit Episode

click to enlarge Detroit-connected Facebooks went abuzz this weekend when chef and television personality Anthony Bourdain wrote a love letter to Detroit in anticipation of the season finale of his show "Anthony Boudain: Parts Unknown", set in Detroit, which aired Sunday night. In his Tumblr post Bourdain gushed about his trip to Detroit, saying, "I love Detroit.

Blowout profile: The Hentchmen

click to enlarge In many ways, John Szymanski and his Hentchmen have come full circle. The band played its first proper show at Paycheck's Lounge more than two decades ago (Feb. 20, 1993, to be precise), and now the Hentchmen are returning to that very stage for Blowout.

Monica Molinaro's paintings are a lesson in minimalism

"This is Jerry," artist Monica Molinaro says as she shows us her paintings, delivered with the warmth usually reserved for introducing a close friend that we have to wonder if Molinaro means that it's a painting of Jerry or if the painting itself is named Jerry. "It's my friend Jerry Vile.

Jeremy Deputat makes solo hometown debut at Inner State Gallery

Jeremy Deputat's traveled the world, entering the inner circles of the likes of Kid Rock and Eminem and joining them on tour. His first solo show is titled By now, photographer Nothing Is Forever, and showcases his photos of Detroit music's A-list and the locales he's traveled to.

Amin Beydoun takes a different look at Detroit

click to enlarge The trend of Detroit photography to focus on decay is well-documented. If the fancy struck you, there's no shortage of coffee table books and framed prints dedicated to the subject available with just the click of a mouse.

Red Bull House of Art

When news broke last year that Red Bull, the Austria-based energy drink giant, was opening an art gallery in Detroit's Eastern Market, the general reaction seemed to be ... huh? Here was a brand more often associated with attaching itself to extreme sports like snowboarding, motocross and other stunts.

Doom bop

Based on his morbid pop music sensibilities, not to mention his day profession, it's easy to imagine Sean Lynch being a nocturnal person. Thus, it's not at all surprising when Lynch says he can meet for an interview after midnight.

Faygo debuts new Cotton Candy flavor

click to enlarge Faygo's new Cotton Candy flavor, rolled out earlier this summer, isn't some pretentious handcrafted-in-Detroit hipster "soda" - this is pop. Anyone familiar with the Detroit-based regional favorite (and unofficial soft drink of the Insane Clown Posse) knows more or less what to expect: sticky, sweet, and cheap.

We took a day trip to Flint

of our idea to spend a day vacationing in Flint for this year's Summer Guide issue, the typical responses seem to range from confusion to gasps of fear.

Meet Tom Nardone of the Detroit Mower Gang

click to enlarge Photo courtesy of the Mower Gang By day, Tom Nardone is an Internet entrepreneur, running a Troy-based online retailer of "things that are embarrassing to buy in person" called PriveCo. By evenings, though, Nardone leads a group of vigilantes.

Darby Barber on vying to be a 'Motor City Master' on car design reality TV show

The College for Creative Studies' automotive design program is notoriously cutthroat, but Darby Barber, 21, had a pretty compelling reason to drop out for a semester. The opportunity of a lifetime arrived when reps from Motor City Masters, a new Chevy-sponsored reality TV program, approached Barber to join the cast.

The Dirtbombs - Party Store

click to enlarge The Dirtbombs - Party Store In the Red Mick Collins has always seemed a little resentful of his rock 'n' roll hero status. As the Dirtbombs' frontman and member of forefront garage-ists the Gories, Collins has found himself repeatedly downplaying his relationship with garage rock specifically, insisting his musical interests lie all across the map.

A sampling of Detroit's world-class street art

What came to be known as the Detroit Beautification Project was essentially thought up over lunch. Local art scenester Matt Eaton (Red Bull House of Art, Library Street Collective) was hanging out with noted street artist Revok (happily exiled to Detroit after the LAPD chased him out of his former home for his street art shenanigans there), and the two were lamenting the lack of variety and "real competent" graffiti here.

Zumiez skateboarding championships come to Detroit

Update Aug. 4, 2014: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that Detroit currently has no skate parks, ignoring the likes of Ride It sculpture park. We regret the oversight.] Last year, a group of extreme-sports enthusiasts put together a bid for Detroit to host ESPN's X Games, releasing a video showing dudes and bros alike skateboarding, motorbiking, and BMX-ing their way through Detroit's iconic backdrop.

Sandra Leidecker Gets Down With Detroit Techno

The influence Germany played in Detroit's early techno music is by now well-documented, with many in the scene attributing legendary Detroit radio personality the Electrifying Mojo breaking Kraftwerk as the start of it all.

Carl Lundgren on becoming one of rock's iconic poster artists

Carl Lundgren's rock 'n' roll posters from the '60s and '70s have become synonymous with the groundbreaking music that defined the era. Designing dozens of posters for bills at the Grande Ballroom - for the likes of the MC5, Jefferson Airplane, the Who, and more - Lundgren's colorful artwork perfectly encapsulates the psychedelic vibes of the music and the time, and have made him a sought-after and collectible artist.

Abandoned Highland Park factory is an artists' haven

It's only Robert Onnes' third time actually visiting Detroit, and he bought a factory. We're speaking to Onnes by phone, and he's just arrived in Michigan after more than 30 hours of traveling from his native New Zealand to check out 333 Midland - his "new, old factory," as he calls it.

Bruce Weber turns his camera on Detroit in DIA exhibition

Back in 2006, Detroiters spotted a wholly unexpected sight around the city: supermodel Kate Moss. She was in town with fashion photographer Bruce Weber, posing for a 54-page spread for W magazine called "Welcome to the Motor City." The photo story featured Moss shot in various locations - from the Heidelberg Project to the Detroit Institute of Arts to Hamtramck Disneyland.

New Photo Book Takes a Look at Detroit's Past

Given a seemingly ravenous appetite in recent years for images fetishizing Detroit's decline, ruin porn continues to be one of the city's biggest cultural exports. Photos of hulking, decayed symbols such as Michigan Central Station and the Packard Plant are so well-circulated that, at this point, it's a wonder the well hasn't dried up.

Detroit Rep hosts world premiere of 'Endangered Species'

click to enlarge If you haven't been to the Detroit Repertory Theatre yet, now would be a good time. Located in a sleepy part of town by the Lodge and Davison freeways on the city's west side, the Rep is one of those uniquely Detroit institutions, boasting a cozy environment with a great old-timey bar and a friendly audience of regulars.

Meet the DIA's Graham Beal

click to enlarge As a Brit with a penchant for bow ties, Detroit Institute of Arts director Graham Beal could easily be written off as a cartoon professor. But since taking the helm of the DIA in 1999, the 66-year-old Beal has made bold strides in making a world-class art museum accessible not only to art geeks, but to everyone.

Pussy Riot's most notorious members make a stop in Ann Arbor

It's 5 a.m. in Russia by the time Nadya Tolokonnikova and Masha Alekhina are finally settled for the night in Chicago, where they've just arrived by plane. Even after losing a bag at the airport and getting stuck in Chicago's infamous traffic, they're gracious enough to agree to keep our Skype date.

Hearse Fest returns for its thirteenth year to Hell, Michigan

Ronnie Duke owns two hearses. Andrew Mosier has just one. Frank Hedeen has three (down from seven). These guys aren't in the funeral business. They're not even necessarily goths - though Duke, with his multiple tattoos and piercings, seems to have a penchant for the dark side.

The Offspring look back at the smashing success of 'Smash' 20 years later

In between shifts working as a janitor at a high school in Garden Grove, California, the Offspring lead guitarist Kevin "Noodles" Wasserman logged recording sessions on what would become Smash, his band's third album. The record dropped in April 1994 on Epitaph, the indie label created by Bad Religion's Brett Gurewitz, and immediately took the post-Nirvana alt-rock world by storm.

Jim Diamond's Ghetto Recorders says goodbye to downtown Detroit

Tucked behind the Fillmore is a building that's all but invisible, despite prime location in Detroit's pedestrian-heavy "Foxtown" district. The unassuming building doesn't even have a doorknob - tenant Jim Diamond opens the door with a bottle opener he keeps on his key chain.

Public Pool gallery turns into 'The Last Record Shop'

For an entire generation, LP record sleeves weren't just packaging - they were windows into another world. Before today's try-it-before-you-illegally-download-it-anyway album promotional model of embeddable streaming widgets and YouTube videos, the only glimpse as to what sort of music a record actually contained was its album artwork.

The UFO Factory lands in Corktown

If you've cruised around Trumbull and Elizabeth in Corktown lately, you may have noticed some strange changes being made to the old Hoot Robinson's building. The exterior of the building has been painted silver, with a black UFO logo spray-painted on it.

Hard times for Showtime during M-1 Rail construction

The months leading up to Halloween are usually the busiest time of year for Showtime, the Midtown clothier that specializes in dressing rock stars (or people who just want to look like rock stars). The store's wares - which include leather biker jackets, corsets, boots, feather boas, hats, and more - aren't cheap, but Showtime attracts shoppers from the world over.

Ben Goraj makes art out of aluminum cans and blunt wrappers

Anyone who's ever worked an office job knows that being tethered to your desk all day can get pretty boring. Between phone calls and emails, Ben Goraj from Dearborn Heights has a bit of downtime working as an office clerk at U-M Dearborn. Fortunately, he can spend it making "modular metal origami."


You can't sit with us: Ello is the hipster Facebook that nobody wanted

click to enlarge When news broke of Ello, a mysterious new social network that promised to be the "Facebook killer," there was a palpable buzz in social media - and a growing sense of dissatisfaction with our collective addiction to Facebook. The network promises not to sell ads or your information to advertisers.

Jerry Vile set up 100 plastic vultures on the DIA's front lawn yesterday

Posted By Lee DeVito on Fri, May 9, 2014 at 10:29 AM Jerry Vile strikes again. The artist (and volunteers) stuck about 100 plastic lawn flamingos painted to look like vultures - one can imagine Vile lovingly glueing on the feathers - on the front lawn of the Detroit Institute of Arts.

Graffiti vandals, be warned: Dan Gilbert is watching you

click to enlarge Motor City Muckraker called our attention to news that Quicken Loans owner Dan Gilbert circulated emails asking for his employees to help identify "three fancy 'ladies'" who vandalized the alley of his building at 1001 Woodward last week.


The Dirtbombs 'Ooey Gooey Chewy...' Illustration

The Archies-style illustration and back cover logo for The Dirtbombs 'Ooey Gooey Chewy Ka-blooey!' LP (2013, In The Red Records).(Front cover painting by Gary Panter. Front cover logo by Jun Ohnuki.)